Working Through the Struggle - Find Reasons to Smile

Jennifer S. - Find Reasons to Smile Everyday

We have all been there. Those moments when everything feels like a struggle. It is during those times where you might find yourself wondering why you bother. Those times when everything feels like it is going wrong and the light at the end of the tunnel appears to be very far away.

Perhaps, I am being overzealous when I say that we all have been there. It is entirely possible that I am in the rare minority of people that have bad days and find it challenging to be the best version of ourselves that we can be. If you are not in this minority I thank you for reading anyway and encourage you to pass this information along to someone that may benefit from it.

The reason why I opted to write this piece is because I have been asked (not infrequently) how it is that I manage to be in a good mood and smiling all the time. This question makes me chuckle because it causes me to reflect back to when no one would have made that comment to me. Yet, here I am, the person who is always smiling and always seems to be having a good day.

There is a reason for this. I call it shifting my perception. I am sure there is a more technical term but for sake of brevity we will just call it shifting perception. Let me clarify what I mean by this. OK, so let's say that my alarm went off but since the night before I turned down the ringer so I can watch a movie I don't hear it. Of course, I wake up late and now find myself frantically trying to perform the same morning routine that would normally take me 40 minutes in 10. It sounds impossible I know but it can be done, it is just very difficult.

I get my daughter into the car, drop her off at school (thankfully just before the school bell rings) and race to the office. No coffee. Ouch. I manage to get there in one piece, and, without losing my sanity (from that one driver who thought that cutting me off at the last minute so he didn't have to be forced to turn right was a good idea.) I park in the parking lot at my building (noticeably further away than normal) and sit there for a moment.

My emotions are running high. I can feel the tears beginning to form in the lower part of my eyelids. I wonder if the makeup that I frantically put on will smear. I pull down the vizier and stare at myself for a moment. I know I should race into the office, I can't be late but I stop myself. I sit down and I focus on my breathing. As I calm my breathe my mind begins to calm as well. I start thinking about how fortunate I was to wake up with enough time to get dressed and get my daughter to school before the bell. Now, she won't have to have a bad day because of me.

I think about how awesome I was at narrowly avoiding a car accident thanks to cut-em-off guy. Lastly, I thought about how fortunate I was to be sitting in the parking lot at work. Knowing that I have a job that I love brings me comfort. As I am pondering these things I break a small smile. Sure, the smile is small and probably won't carry much weight throughout the day. However, it is also possible that this small smile will grow throughout the day and I see other people smile at me in return.

When you shift your perception you shift your mood and you shift the way that you respond to the challenges that you are facing. It's not always going to be easy. There may be some days when it feels impossible. Maybe you did have that accident but think about this, the fact that you are reading this means that you survived and that is a good thing. 

Bottom line, when working through the struggle be kind to yourself. Focus on the things that you did right. Focus on your small achievements rather than your big mess-ups because it is in those small achievements that you will find that perspective and there is where you will find that joy.

Hope you have a great day and keep smiling.